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Business school preparation: Students share task of preparing the next MBA class

Business school preparation is about learning about and from your peers as much as your professors.

This is a guest post by Fabrizzio Chaves, a Consortium member and a member of the Cornell class of 2017. As a Consortium liaison, he writes of his efforts to help integrate the next class into the MBA experience. Business school preparation is a team sport, and it includes those who have come before.

Emigrating from Colombia to Miami, my experience as a first-generation American in the Information Age was shaped heavily on my self-reliance to discover how to best navigate this new Land of Opportunity that was completely foreign to my parents.

Fabrizzio Chaves
Fabrizzio Chaves

My parents’ unfamiliarity with SATs, state testing and college prep led them to endow upon me a very high level of ownership in my success at a very early age. I was raised under of the guidance that “proper preparation would prevent poor performance,” also known as the 5P’s.

It is a phrase my mother would say to me daily from my first days at kindergarten to our most recent phone call.

As I learned more about the business world and finance, I transitioned to Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management after five years with the AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company. My career goal coming to Johnson was to transition into investment banking.

During “Destination Johnson,” the admitted students’ weekend event for incoming Johnson students held every April, I met with members of the class of 2016, who helped to prepare me for what would eventually become a successful pre-MBA recruiting season that led to me securing an early investment banking offer with Citi’s Institutional Clients Group.

A year removed from the experience, I find myself as one of Johnson’s Consortium liaisons sharing the lessons that I learned a year ago with the next class of aspiring bankers.

When I applied to be a liaison, I reflected specifically on my OP experience. I look back at my interactions with the different banks, the connections I made on both personal and professional levels, and could not imagine a better start to my business school career.

My introduction to the Johnson Class of 2018 has consistently begun with my guidance to never overlook the experiences that brought them to this point and weave the positive lessons into their stories as they meet with banks. Securing an investment banking role is a job within itself that will test their ability to think on their feet, their dexterity, and their ability to prepare, as much as their knowledge of business, finance and accounting.

More than anything, I advise them to recognize that investment banking is eventually a team sport and in preparing to make this career move, their first opportunity to work as a team in business school begins at OP with the other aspiring bankers in their class.

Business school is more than just an opportunity to help students ascend to the next step in their professional career. Business school is about learning about and from your peers as much as your professors, seeking opportunities to expand beyond what you’re great at, and sharing the gifts that you entered with to help others succeed in their journey.

From a personal standpoint, I believe that the lifetime of valuing and emphasizing preparation, pivoting my career to investment banking, and sharing my knowledge of investment banking recruitment with the class of 2018 has allowed me to weave my lifelong values to launch a formalized early recruitment prep program at Johnson—a program that will set the precedent for preparation of all career verticals here at Johnson.

Pictured above: Consortium students Gabi Longe ’16 and Ronald Chunga ’17 presenting a slide for one of the sessions at Cornell’s “Destination Johnson” program. Also featured: Akshay Nigam, vice president of education for the Old Ezra Finance Club, who is in support of early recruiting prep.

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